Imagine your local farmer’s market: delicious, fresh, local, and affordable produce and bulk items.
Now put it all on wheels, paint it green and eggplant purple, and you’ve got the Massachusetts Avenue Project’s Mobile Market! The Official Grand Opening celebration for this giant converted RV took place at an equally awesome non-profit, Jericho Road Ministries at 184 Barton Street on the West Side of Buffalo.
“The opening went great, we had taste testing, people enjoyed us and really welcomed us with open arms,” said Cyndie Huynh, the driver and coordinator for the Mobile Market and WNY AmeriCorps VISTA member. She shared that the Mobile Market concept was based on a study by a local professor. “Samina Raja at UB did a food study of the City of Buffalo called Food for Growth and designated neighborhoods as ‘food deserts,’ which means they don’t have easy access to healthy food options and grocery stores. So the Mobile Market addresses this issue.”
Local high school students Anthony, Devonte, Verdall, and Prince learned about the project and got involved helping customers and stocking the shelves inside the converted RV as part of the Growing Green Program, a youth development and urban agriculture program about increasing healthy food access and revitalizing the Buffalo community through urban farming, healthy nutrition, environmental stewardship and social enterprise.
“A lot of MAP members told my parents about the project, and they told me about it,” Verdall said.
That’s right, MAP. That’s how everyone refers to the Massachusetts Avenue Project after they spend a little time in the community. Anyone familiar with MAP would know that the roots of the Mobile Market are based on a local and sustainable philosophy that is part of their core.
“Most of our produce comes from our farm on Massachusetts Ave. And we also get shares donated from the Oles Family Farm. Many people in Buffalo don’t own cars, and it can be difficult to get the right foods if you have kids, or you’re limited by how much food you can carry in your arms, or if you ride the bus sometimes it takes two or three hours on the bus after transfers. So we bring the food to the people!”
The Mobile Market will be driving through Buffalo and making these stops each week:
Tuesday: Jericho Road Ministries, 184 Barton St, 12:00-2:00pm
Wednesday: Santa Maria Towers, 255 Connecticut St, 1:30- 3:00pm
Friday: Special Events- Summer 2009 at the People’s Park by the Tri Main Building
Saturday: R Healing Center, 1057 Kensington St, 1:00- 3:00pm.
Stops will be added, so for more information on the Mobile Market and MAP, visit mass-ave.org.
Next time you see an enormous purple and green RV with vegetables painted on the side, and Cyndie’s smiling face in the driver’s side window, stop by and check out the Mobile Market.